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d:  A teacher informed the newly hired school psychologist (the third psychologist this year) that a parent verbally requested that their child be tested to see of the child still qualifies for special education. The previous school psychologists acted on verbal requests and sent the necessary documents to the parent for permission to test right away. The new school psychologist has stated multiple times that the parent has to place it in writing first, and is not responding to verbal requests. The parent is wondering why she hasn’t received anything and is wondering why her child hasn’t been tested yet. Can the school psychologist or any other district personnel ignore a verbal request from a parent, even if the parent doesn’t place it in writing? I was under the impression that once a school district staff person has been approached by a verbal request, that the school district has to respond to this request within 15 days of the request, either stating that they will test or not test.

  1. When parents verbally request an evaluation, the Student Support team chair must contact them to invite them to a Student Support Team meeting to determine what their concerns are. A written request is not needed. All team members (teachers, school psych, and possibly others) are welcome to contribute to the discussion. One of the purposes of the meeting is to get a description of the problem, gather information, and problem-solve. One possible outcome of the meeting may be to try a different intervention or strategy with the decision to meet again on a specific date and time. Another outcome is that the team agrees to evaluate and discussion shifts to the development of the assessment plan.

  2. I am a speech pathologist in a public school in Texas. The school LSSP refuses to test students. When the SLP provide information that a child’s receptive language scores are lower than expressive language this indicates autism, ADHD, ED, or cognitive deficits that require additional assessment.

    After the Feds penalized Texas for denying services to student, the LSSP will evaluate, but leaves out critical assessment such as observation with peer, review of communication profiles with regard to receptive and expressive and pragmatic language observations. What laws are available to help speech only students when the LSSPs will not take their “paternity test” and serve student in the public school?

    • Amy, I am sorry to read this. I am a retired TX special ed director working with the federally funded parent training & information projects. Your questions are best answered in an email. You can contact me at: cnoe59@hotmail.com

  3. Written requests leave a paper trail which will hold the district accountable as well as the parent. I have learned that it is best to put requests in writing. A paper trail also in some ways alerts the district that the parent knows how to properly advocate at some level. One time, I typed up a letter for parent for her child to get tested. Before then, the district ignored the parents verbal concerns. The school acted immediately to test for special education after that parent gave them that letter. The best you can do for this parent is to educate that parent on advocacy, paper trails and give them the Wrightslaw link.

  4. This is one of many areas where states can develop rules. Some states require that requests for testing must be in writing. Even if the state does not have a rule on this, a district could have a policy or rule requiring requests be in writing.

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